"Mother Nature." If you say those two words real fast, perhaps, I won't wash your mouth out with Lifebuoy soap.
In launching 2007 in this space, I pondered what to write about: Would it be wars or rumours of war, the state of the Canadian economy or the proliferation of football games south of the border?
No, it was dull voice on the television in the middle of the night, which spurred this diatribe.
"Do you know what Mother Nature has in store today?" Mr. Monotone mumbled. And then he proceeded to explain that the cold front was devastating the U.S. Plain states and then he claimed the frigid temperatures originated in Canada's North.
However, the weather forecast wasn't my major gripe. After all it is early January. No, it was those introductory words: Mother Nature.
So after turning off the TV (ain't remote control great?), I thought about other words, which should be banished from the English language.
Actually, I'd heard about small Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which has put out an annual list of "banished words" since the '70s. Perhaps, it's their only claim to infamy.
After calming my nerves, I went searching and found out that p.r. director Bill Rabe had claimed after he released that first list "it would go on forever."
And, seemingly, it has.
Every year, particularly since the news famine strikes during January, the media relishes those lists.
As a press release claims, "people from around the world have nominated hundreds of words to be purged, forever, such as "you know," "user friendly,""at this point in time," and "have a nice day."
Of course, the idea came about during a New Year's Eve party in 1975 and the next day after everyone had sobered up, the first one was released.
Each year, people submit words that MUST be banned and a selection committee in the Soo then goes to work in gleaning the best or is that the worst?
Following is an abbreviated version of the 2007 list:
GITMO -- As one reader wrote, "When did the notorious Guantanamo Bay Naval Base change to 'Gitmo,' a word that conjures up an image of a fluffy and sweet character from a Japanese anime show?"
COMBINED CELEBRITY NAMES -- Obnoxious names making the headlines such as 'Bragelina,' 'TomKat' and 'Bennifer.' Someone called them annoying, idiotic and so lame and pathetic that it's 'lamethetic.'
AWESOME -- It was banished in the 1980s and now it deserves to be kicked all the way into utter darkness. Ain't that awesome? As a wise man, named Tom, from Orlando, Fla., wrote: "That a mop, a deodorant or a dating service can be called 'awesome' demonstrates the limited vocabularies of the country's copywriters."
WE'RE PREGNANT -- As one woman wrote, "I'm sure any woman who has given birth will tell you that 'WE' did not deliver the baby."
ASK YOUR DOCTOR -- That's a dandy as someone said, "I don't think my doctor would appreciate my calling him after seeing a TV ad."
HEALTHY FOOD -- As another reader said, "the tuna steak she had for lunch sounded healthy and then she added, "If my lunch were healthy, it would be still swimming somewhere. Grilled and nestled in salad greens, it's "healthful."
The following are but a few of the hundreds of objectionable words, which should immediately leave on a rocket ship (with prejudice as the legal beagles might say):
ABCs -- Absolutely; Actioning; All Time Record; Almost Exactly; Alternative Music; And How Are We Today?; Armed and Dangerous; At This Point in Time; Baby Boomers; Bare Naked; "Been There, Done That"; Bonding; Breaking News; But You Shouldn't Feel that Way!; Carbs; Chill Out; Courtesy Call; Cutting Edge.
DEFs -- Detente; Diva; Do-able; Done in Good Taste; Downsizing; Dude; Empower; Exact Same; Factoid; First-Time Caller; For Sure; Foreseeable Future; Fresh Donuts.
GHIs -- Giving 110 Per cent; Got; Got Game; Gut Feeling; Half Dead; Handy-Man Special; Hang Up Your Clothes; He Goes/She Goes; Hello!?; The Honest Truth; Hunker Down; I'm 150 Per cent Behind You; I'm Like; In Your Face; It's All Good.
JKLMNs -- Jumbo Shrimp; Junk Science; Know What I'm Sayin'?; Let's Do Lunch; LOL; Macho; Mean-Spirited; A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste; More Bang for the Buck; More Than Happy; Multi-tasking; My Plate is Full; No-Brainer.
O-Zs -- "Oh, Well"; On a Roll; Person of Interest; Pre-Planning; Pushing the Envelope; Read My Lips; Rufusenik; Sanitary Landfill; Slight Glitch; So; Too Right; Up Front; You're Fired!; Win-Win; You the Man/You're the Man; Yuh Know; Zeroize.
And the non-existent Mother Nature wasn't to be found. Oh, well, time to start a write-in campaign.